Posts Tagged ‘Babelit’


Questo post contiene il contributo di Anthony Glavin nell’ambito del dibattito in doppia lingua – inglese e italiano – organizzato nello spazio di Letteratitudine chiamato BABELIT, dedicato all’incontro con autori non italiani. Di seguito, l’articolo di Anthony Glavin in lingua originale e la traduzione in lingua italiana di Valeria Lo Forte


On the Road Again: Thoughts on the Creative Journey
by Anthony Glavin

‘The end is nothing, the road is all. In fact, the road and end are literally one.’ Death Comes to the Archbishop, Willa Cather

‘Lately it occurs to me what a long, strange trip it’s been’.

‘Truckin’ by The Grateful Dead

I’m not sure  it’s possible for me to pinpoint the inception of something like a ‘creative journey’, but let’s say it begins on a Greyhound bus pulling out of its Boston depot on Tuesday, July 5, 1966.  Being a Virgo, of course, I’d even noted the time—8:45 p.m.—on the first page of a soft-cover, thread-bound, reporter-style, notebook that served as a journal on that first, storied, road trip all those years ago. Proud possessor of a $99 Dollar/99 Day Bus Pass, I’ll spend the next ten weeks both bussing and hitch-hiking some 8,500 miles around the continental USA, along with a short trip north of the border into Canada, via ferry to the lovely town of Victoria, on Vancouver Island, British Columbia.  I am nineteen, utterly clueless in most every way, but apparently adventurous, and adventures I’ll find aplenty.

The first page or two of that journal are given over to describing fellow bus passengers,  “a small cowboy in violet shirt particularly obnoxious” and “a 25-year-old African-American, off to Chicago to start a new life”, together with a notation that ‘Ohio and Indiana are all fields, barns and big cloud-filled sky”.  My first stop is a lakeside resort in Wisconsin, where I plan to spend the weekend visiting Clement, a university pal who has a summer job washing dishes there. However, I fall head over heels for Linda, a waitress at the resort, “auburn hair & fantastic laugh”, so signing on as a temporary bus boy, I clear tables for ten or twelve days, before I say goodbye to Clement and Linda both, and thumb a lift to the Greyhound bus station in Milwaukee. Pulling out my magic $99 Bus Pass, I then ride all the way to Billings Montana, where I hop off and hitch down to Yellowstone National Park, where I camp for a couple of nights, noting down a “rather large black bear passing within 12 feet of where I was unrolling my sleeping bag’.

I take note in my journal later that week of the majestic sunset—“dark purple clouds with a pink fringe” on the “golden mountains” at Lake Solitude in the Grand Tetons, whose  10,000-feet altitude makes me “feel high, 3 or 4 beers worth anyways”.  In fact, the light and colour show moves me to tears, and I recognise the next year at university some of what I was feeling that evening upon encountering what the English poet Wordsworth wrote about the sense of “the sublime” that he and the other Romantic poets experienced upon first visiting the Alps.
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Questo post contiene il contributo di Celia de Fréine nell’ambito del dibattito in doppia lingua – inglese e italiano – organizzato nello spazio di Letteratitudine chiamato BABELIT, dedicato all’incontro con autori non italiani. Di seguito, l’articolo di Celia de Fréine in lingua originale e la traduzione in lingua italiana di Valeria Lo Forte


The Creative Journey di Celia de Fréine

It’s thirty years now since I translated The Midnight Court, a poem of around 1,000 lines, written in Irish by Brian Merriman in or around 1780, in which the sexual mores of the day are debated. At the time I didn’t realise that this was the beginning of a creative journey; had I done so, I might have turned on my heel and fled.

Looking back on the ten years that followed, it’s as though I’d entered a quagmire where bogland dragged me down at every turn and mastiffs snarled anytime I tried to gain entry to any establishment where recognition or support might be on offer.

During this time I wrote several plays, all of which were performed in venues which, for the most part, no longer exist. Critics did not smile on my efforts, and submissions to theatrical establishments, often accompanied by notes of invective, found their way back to my letter box as surely as a homing pigeon returns to its loft.

This was thirty years ago when writing was not the industry it is today: classes and workshops were few and far between and the support of peers was unheard of. But I kept on fielding the insults and going back for more – the need to suffer most likely the result of my Catholic upbringing.

I should mention that at this time I was teaching also – working with Travellers, in the prisons and with women’s group. Myself and a friend and colleague, Phyl Herbert, put together a volume of short plays Literacy, Language and Role Play geared towards the adult learner such as those we were working with.
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Questo post contiene il contributo di Niamh MacAlister nell’ambito del dibattito in doppia lingua – inglese e italiano – organizzato nello spazio di Letteratitudine chiamato BABELIT, dedicato all’incontro con autori non italiani. Di seguito, l’articolo di Niamh MacAlister in lingua originale e la traduzione in lingua italiana di Barbara Gozzi e Federica Sgaggio

IL VIAGGIO di Niamh MacAlister

Reflections on a Journey –  di Niamh MacAlister

It is the kind of thing that’s hard to explain; the curve of a lover’s body, the shape of a line on the page, the route of the path the word travelled on, the shape of my own life because of it.

It is as difficult to find the moments of peace to sit down and write as it is to put the actual word on the page. And yet without that moment, or the search for it, there is no peace.

These are some of the things that made me stay at the inn for too long – a destructive relationship, an unshakeable lack of believe, rejection upon rejection upon rejection, work, laziness, the fear of never being the kind of writer I dream of being, life.

And what is that intangible thing that makes you put one foot in front of the other?

The whiteness is as vast as any black hole or galaxy. It is the shapeless mould of my dreams.
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Questo post contiene il contributo di Lia Mills nell’ambito del dibattito in doppia lingua – inglese e italiano – organizzato nello spazio di Letteratitudine chiamato BABELIT, dedicato all’incontro con autori non italiani. Di seguito, l’articolo di Lia Mills in lingua originale e la traduzione in lingua italiana di Federica Sgaggio


My Life as a Parcel di Lia Mills

When I was a child, we had a kitchen drawer where we kept all the random things that my mother – who’d lived through more than one war – couldn’t bring herself to throw away: sheets of brown paper and lengths of twine; broken pencils and worn elastic bands; my father’s glasses, with the one cracked lens; my grandmother’s teeth. You never knew when these things might come in handy.

When parcels came to the house, it could take ages to unravel the knots from the strings that tied them. We never cut that string, no matter how tight the knots, or how impatient we were to discover what was hidden inside the layers of brown paper.  There might be a coat, or a good wool cardigan outgrown by a cousin; christmas presents from America; sweets from England, if we were lucky: Spangles and Mars Bars, Opal Fruits and Mints.  Sometimes we got packets of seeds. We planted these with enthusiasm, but since no one remembered to water them, they rarely made it above ground. We preserved the wrapping paper. When the time came to use it again, we’d turn it, so the writing faced inwards, fold it around whatever we were posting away in our turn, then tie it up as tight and fierce as any package that ever came to us. Those parcels smelled of scorched ink, secrets, adventure.

Because of the way things were (dead father, working mother, too many children), arrangements for looking after us were complicated. School terms were simple enough, we were dispatched to different boarding schools. But holidays were a problem.  Relatives, friends and strangers had to be roped in to look after us from one week to the next, until we were old enough to look after ourselves.

This is how it was: you never knew where you’d find yourself next, or with whom. You’d wake up one day in a room with a half-door that opened to a beach in Wicklow. Then you’d be in the west of Ireland, surrounded by people speaking a thrilling language you didn’t understand.  Black-shawled women would stop you in the road to send you for rashers and tobacco in a shop where men leaned over pints of stout at the counter all day long. In Kildare you learned how to foot turf and save hay, and in Meath you fell asleep in a barn listening to horses warm the air beneath you with their velvety breath. You went to american wakes in the west, went fishing in leaky boats around the coast, and in the midlands there were cattle marts, where you pitied the soft eyes and low voices of calves calling for their mothers.  You were sent to the well for water, made whistles out of grass, harvested stones from every beach you ever walked on. You learned to loathe jellyfish and to love the feel of dried cow-dung on the hardening soles of your feet.  You were always on the move, you met too many people, you didn’t know where you belonged.
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